Writer Becky Bosshart was laid off from her Las Vegas newspaper job while writing a series on the recession and unemployed Nevadans. Nevada is one of the hardest-hit states, with a 13.4 percent unemployment rate, and about 113,000 of the state's occupants claiming unemployment. The number of Nevadans claiming food stamps is expected to double by the end of 2010, up from 200,000 this year. The anxiety is palpable.
Profiled in Bosshart's piece is Cynthia Stone, a 53-year-old grandmother who lost her position as a pharmacy technician who is on extended unemployment benefits, sending out daily resumes for jobs she is overqualified for. Rachel Lucero is a data clerk who lost her job a year ago and is leaning on her husband's paycheck and her mother's Social Security to get her family through.
Like their counterparts in other states, Nevadans are leaving the city and, in some cases, the country, just to find work. Others have gone back to school while some have gone off the grid, getting paid under the table and freelancing. Some simply ask others for money.
Bosshart mulls over her own unemployment, hitting the stage of "any job will do" and the community that has emerged from the ranks of the jobless:
Unemployment isn't just a noun anymore. In Las Vegas, it's a perpetual state of being. The unemployed eat less and drink more, mostly during happy hour. But it doesn't make us happy. Our sphere of influence shrinks--to anything within a one-and-a-half-mile radius of home. We spend hours in front of the computer looking for jobs. Jobs we aren't getting. And all of this brings home the bitter truth: The American Dream has escaped our grasp.
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